I’m pretty confident my child has grown tired of my telling her to pay attention.
She, influenced by politics on the playground and being a girl, desperately wanted to see the first woman President elected this year.
As a result, she wasn’t thrilled about the inauguration on 1/20. She announced she wanted to turn off the news, end conversations and pretty much do anything to remove focus from the President for the next 4 years.
I reminded her, for the hundredth time since the season began, of the importance of paying attention.
This is a life-lesson we all learn – – I’d tell her. We may not like what’s happening around us all the time, yet ignoring/plunging our heads in the proverbial sand wont change a thing.
We don’t need to always be laser-focused, I told her. We do need to consistently keep an eye on the world and be aware.
Drishti is a sanscrit word which means focused gaze.
To the Child and the non-Yogi part of me these two words appear oxymoronic.
How can one be focused and simultaneously “merely gazing?”
Yet, when it comes to my yoga practice, focused gaze makes tremendous sense.
It’s soft focus on an unmoving object which provides me stability I desperately need.
I give my attention to the object. I am not solely focused on it.
All at the same time.
We humans can tap in to the power of this focused gaze off the mat as well. We can choose to bring our vision inward while concurrently keeping eyes firmly on the future.
Where our eyes are directed our attention follows.
Set your intention.
Recently the child and I created our ’17 vision boards.
At the start of each day I set an intention and check in with myself periodically to be certain I’m staying on course.
I spend a few minutes journaling each evening about where I see myself going (in life. in the future.) and make note of steps I’ve taken to get there.
These acts aid me in maintaining my drishti off the mat, keep my eyes affixed to where I long to be, and still maintain my momentum.
For me the phrase “focused gaze” brings to mind how tunnel vision limits us.
My eyes remain firmly on my drishti, but not focused to the point of burn out.
The inclusion of the word gaze in the definition softens and prompts me to simultaneously bear in mind the big picture.
Letting go/softening my gaze off the mat helps me remain on the #wycwyc path. It reminds me of my commitment to a lifestyle where obsession makes us less likely to achieve our goals than small steps taken each day.
I once had a step aerobics instructor who, as we traveled up, down and across the platform, would shout:
Eyes on the prize, ladies!
At that point in my life the “prize” was weight loss. As a result, each time she admonished us to keep our eyes affixed there, all I could think about was how long I need to step up, down and grapevine to shed all the weight I longed to lose.
I had the focus. I didn’t soften with gaze.
In the end, my intense *focus* resulted in my quitting aerobics classes.
When I resumed exercising, and discovered my love of the weights, I did so with a drishti.
I softly gazed upon the small stuff (each session where I inched closer to my goal) while shifting focus toward how powerful and strong I’d be in the end.
Our brains believe the stories we tell them.
On and off the mat a drishti keeps me balanced and focused without tunnel vision or obsession.
It facilitates my paying attention without permitting fear or negativity to permeate my thoughts.
When I soften my gaze into a hazy focus it offers rare opportunity to see through through the illusions/distractions which surround me.
- How do you maintain soft focus & balance when (off the mat and) out in the world?